NJIT got a goal from senior Rebecca Tustin in the sixth minute and then made it hold up the rest of the way, as the Highlanders notched their first women’s soccer shutout win of the season, 1-0 over visiting Virginia Military Institute Friday afternoon on Lubetkin Field at Mal Simon Stadium.
The win moved NJIT to 2-5 on the season, while VMI, which had won its previous two games, dropped to 2-4 after Friday’s loss. The Highlanders, who had surrendered either two or three goals in each this year’s first six games, got their first defensive clean sheet since last October 22 (1-0 vs. South Carolina in double overtime; NJIT had four shutout wins in 2012).
Friday’s only goal came early–at 5:37, to be exact. The play began with a long pass out of the defensive half of the field. Megan Dellavalle received the pass just past the center stripe and headed the ball forward to Tustin, who carried down the right side toward the top of the box. Once into the penalty area, Tustin fired a hard over VMI keeper Emily Marbury and under the midpoint of the crossbar.
The goal was the first since when she was a freshman in 2010, for the senior Tustin, who also has one assist in 2013. She missed all 2011 with an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury and returned last year to start all 20 games, but did not score.
NJIT sophomore goalkeeper Samantha Bersett, who had all four of the team’s shutouts in 2012, needed just one save against VMI to raise her career shutout total to five. On the other end, the Keydets, who were outshot, 9-5 overall and 6-1 in on-target shots, used two goalkeepers. Marbury, who allowed the goal, started and played the first half, making two saves. Sophomore Liz Nickerson entered at the beginning of the second half and made three saves in her 45 minutes of action.
The Highlanders had several chances to extend their lead, but didn’t add any insurance. Even so, the Highlanders, the more dangerous attacking side on this afternoon, controlled the defensive part of the field and were never seriously threatened.
Friday’s result snapped a three-match losing streak, during which NJIT was outscored, 7-1, including the latest loss, 2-0, vs. Lafayette last Sunday afternoon. In her Sunday post-game comments, NJIT coach Mandi Risden vowed to re-examine the tone of practice and also to look at how players were being utilized.
After beating VMI, Risden connected the week’s new practice regimen with the on-field result.
“This week of training showed in this game,” said the coach. “It was the most intense, competitive week we’ve had (practicing) and it showed today in our aggressiveness, especially in the way we won so many of the 50/50 balls. We also put some people in different roles and those players responded well.”
One of the changes involved moving speedy freshman Dana Schules, who has an explosive burst, into more of an attacking role from the one she had filled previously.
“Dana has that great speed and she goes hard all the time, which helped create a lot of chances,” Risden said. “None of them resulted in goals, but she’s dangerous and she has a great desire to work on getting better, so I’m confident we’ll see results out of what she adds to our team.”
Overall, Risden was pleased. “Defensively, we were solid. It was our best game,” she observed after her first home win as head coach. “Offensively, we created more chances (than in previous games), but didn’t finish as well as we’d like. The next step is to keep creating the chances, but to finish more of them.”
Highlanders nipped 1-0
Fairleigh Dickinson, ranked #22 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America national poll, scored in the 29th minute and made the lone tally hold up the rest of the way for a 1-0 men’s soccer victory over visiting NJIT Wednesday night on FDU’s University Stadium.
FDU has started the 2013 regular season with 1-0 wins over Drexel, Lehigh, and NJIT, plus a 3-0 win against well-regarded Princeton immediately before the Knights stopped the Highlanders. The Knights also won a pair of 1-0 preseason exhibition games.
The successful defense-oriened start is not a surprise for the Knights, who grabbed headlines in college soccer last November, winning two road games against ranked teams to reach the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament before finally losing in overtime at North Carolina.
The magical 2012 postseason run was fueled by FDU’s defense, too. The Knights tied their two Northeast Conference Tournament games, 1-1 each time, but advanced on penalty kicks. Once in the NCAAs, they beat St. John’s 1-0, before topping Saint Louis 2-1 in overtime and then losing at North Carolina in overtime, 1-0.
NJIT falls to 1-3-1 on the season with a pair of one-goal defeats against National Top 25 sides. The Highlanders opened with a 2-1 loss at St. John’s, then ranked 19th. The Red Storm subsequently beat powerful Akron last weekend, which moved SJU up to #12 in the latest poll. Indeed, all of NJIT’s wins and losses have been decided by one goal and the tie was a 1-1 overtime result at VMI last week.
Wednesday night’s only goal on a muggy night with temperatures hovering near 90 degrees, was scored, unassisted, by FDU’s first-year sophomore Tchamy Dantse Dantse, who found the back of the net for the second time in his first US college season.
Dantse Dantse, an imposing 6-foot-5, 220-pounder from Germany, was named earlier in the day as Player of the Week in the Metropolitan area by the website BigAppleSoccer.com and was tabbed as Northeast Conference Player of the Week before that.
Dantse Dantse’s decisive goal Wednesday came out of a scramble that followed a corner kick by Fairleigh’s Anders Vest-Hansen. The official time was 28:39.
The winners had a huge edge in shots and corner kicks. The margin in total shots was 20-3 for FDU and the corner kicks were 12-3. The shots on goal were closer, with the Knights shooting on frame seven times to three for the Highlanders.
Senior goalkeeper Jacob Lissek, named to the NSCAA All-Region third team a year ago, backstopped Fairleigh’s stout defense with three saves to log his fourth clean sheet on the season, which he has opened with 360 unblemished minutes.
NJIT used two goalkeepers. Starter Alexander Czempik went the first 45 minutes and made two saves while allowing the one goal. Freshman David Tuchinsky made his regular season college debut between the posts, making three saves without a goal over the final 45 minutes.
Tuchinsky was actually beaten in the 57th minute by FDU’s Simon Doherty, but the ball was kept out of the goal on a save by an NJIT defender
It was at least the third time this season that someone other than the keeper has prevented a goal in the Highlanders defense. Joshua Mercer blocked a shot at the goal post against St. John’s and Cristian Marcel headed a ball off the crossbar to prevent another score goal in NJIT’s 1-0 win against George Washington last Sunday afternoon.
Despite being outshot by a wide margin, the Highlanders applied late pressure and came close to equalizing on an attempt in the 84th by Marko Drljic that was thwarted by Lissek.
Courtesy of NJIT Athletics